OTG Releases New Report Highlighting Challenges to Transparency in Washington, a Growing Surveillance State, and Attacks on Press Freedoms

Open the Government (OTG) released a new report, Closing Democracy’s Window: The Growing Culture of Secrecy in Washington and the Erosion of the Public’s Right to Know. To document the first year of the Trump Administration, the report closely reviews transparency and openness in the White House, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security; agencies selected for their high profile and their impact on important public policies.

Combating Government Secrecy through Freedom of Information

In response to a growing culture of government secrecy, people are seeking new ways to defend their right to information and combat intensifying threats to transparency and accountability. Openness advocates, journalists, litigators and grassroots organizations working on a range of policy issues are increasingly looking to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to shine light on government actions carried out in our name, but without our knowledge. Today, Open the Government released a Best Practices Guide to FOIA Collaboration, highlighting cases where FOIA collaboration is successfully being used to fuel advocacy campaigns and advance openness policies. 

OTG Supports the Special Counsel Transparency Act of 2018 to Ensure the Results of Mueller’s Investigation are Preserved and Shared with Congress

April 17, 2018 -- Open the Government expressed support for the Special Counsel Transparency Act of 2018, which was introduced today in the House of Representatives by Reps. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Ted Lieu (D-CA), and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) The bill seeks to preserve the work of the Justice Department’s investigation into the 2016 election, in the event the Trump Administration dismisses Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Citing Gina Haspel’s Role in Destruction of Torture Videos, OTG Leads Joint Letter Calling on Senate to Halt Her Nomination

Open the Government led a coalition that signed a joint letter today calling on the Senate not to advance Gina Haspel’s nomination as CIA Director until all records of her past involvement in a CIA torture program are declassified and released to the public. OTG is particularly concerned that Haspel participated in the destruction of video evidence of her role overseeing a clandestine detention site in Thailand that tortured detainees. The letter cited Haspel’s “concerted effort to escape embarrassment and legal consequences” by eliminating video proof of waterboarding, slamming detainees against walls, enforced sleeplessness, and confinement inside coffin-shaped boxes.

In Sunshine Week Declaration Condemning Threats to Openness, Coalition Warns that Laws and Norms Protecting Open Government are Being Eclipsed

A coalition of leading organizations that fight for transparency and openness in government released a powerful declaration today warning Americans about escalating attacks on the public’s right to know. The organizations shared the statement, A Condemnation of Threats to Openness, Ethics and Accountability, with the White House and Members of Congress on the first weekday of Sunshine Week (March 11 – 17), to demonstrate how laws and norms that ensure Americans have access to information on their government are being eroded and eclipsed by a growing culture of secrecy in Washington.

Politically Diverse Organizations Call for Reforms to Reduce Government Secrecy Following Nunes Memo

Organizations across the political spectrum called on Congress today to adopt key measures to reduce secrecy and create more accountability in government. A joint letter was sent to Speaker Paul Ryan, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, recommending meaningful reforms to our intelligence services that would further protect civil liberties and privacy rights.

Open the Government's 2017 Year End Report

As we look back to the successes we had in 2017, we are inspired to continue our fight for a transparent and accountable government, creating a more informed electorate that can demand respect for and adherence to democratic fundamentals.

OTG’s Executive Director Condemns Reported Trump Decision to Keep Guantanamo Prison Open

Open the Government Executive Director, Lisa Rosenberg, condemned the Trump Administration’s shortsighted decision to sign an Executive Order reversing Barack Obama’s policy to close the Guantanamo facility “as soon as practicable.” Politico reports “Trump is expected to announce plans to sign the order during his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, or in the days before or after the address.”